Supreme court allows states to fix own Two – hour cracker slots on Diwali

Prelims level : Mains level : G.S-III Environmental Conservation
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Why in News?

  • The Supreme Court permitted local authorities to stagger the two-hour window for bursting crackers on Diwali to cater to local considerations. The top court was acting on plea by the Tamil Nadu government which had claimed that Diwali was celebrated in the morning with crackers.

Court’s order:

  • A bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan permitted to make local variations but did not extend the time to burst crackers. On the other hand, the court rejected a slew of petitions seeking to have the ban on both production and sale of high-emission polluting crackers only for this year in the NCR. The court was however, ambivalent about the rest of India. The ban on making polluting crackers will possibly stay and only green crackers will be made from next year onwards.
  • The bench, though given the short notice at which it had ordered the switch from more polluting to less polluting crackers, made a relaxation on sale of less polluting crackers among the existing ones that have been made so far. The Supreme Court on Tuesday modified its October 23 order restricting the time for bursting crackers on Deepavali and other religious festivals to two hours, between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Instead, it allowed Tamil Nadu and adjacent southern States to decide when people can burst crackers on festival days, provided the total time does not cross the two-hour mark. This means the authorities can stagger the time-slots and even make it an hour in the morning and another in the night.

Green rule for NCR:

  • Further, the court said its direction that only green crackers can be manufactured and sold is only applicable to Delhi and the National Capital Region areas. On October 23, the court had held that only green or improved crackers would be used in religious festivals and other occasions, including weddings. The court had fixed a uniform slot for bursting crackers across the country. During Deepavali and other religious festivals, the slot is between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
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